Jeremy Julian

Technology Adoption: Chains vs. Independents

August 24, 2016

Are you an independent owner who isn’t sold on all the technology and apps that are available out in the market?

Well, you are not alone.

Independent operators aren’t as convinced as their chain counterparts that technology gives them a competitive advantage. According to a recent survey from the National Restaurant Association, more than half of independent owners say that technology actually makes the restaurant experience more complicated for customers.

In this day and age where technology is being pushed so hard and fast, is it really a bad thing to slow down and interact face-to-face?


The Restaurant Technology Guys - Technology adoption between independent and chain/franchise owners.

Graph depicting the technology adoption between independent and chain/franchise owners.


Although, this paints only a partial picture. True, independent owners are not completely sold on technology, but the biggest barrier to implementing tech is the cost. This effects both chains and independents. However, the area that hurts independent owners the most, are the ongoing fees that are associated with technology. Support and maintenance remain a constant challenge. Only about a quarter of independent operators employ tech staff, compared to more than half of chains.


However, despite these barriers, nearly three in 10 independent restaurants are investing more time, effort and resources to implementing new technology. Independent owners have caught up to chains when it comes to having a website but only 69% use a POS or electronic cash register system compared to chains’ adoption rate of 94%. Looking at the table, independents are far behind chains in their use of other front- and back-of-house tech amenities: ordering kiosks, online ordering for takeout and delivery, smartphone apps, mobile pay and digital staffing and recruitment.


We see this as an opportunity. The advantage independents have on this subject is time. They can save their money and wait to see what tech trends actually take hold. We expect to see much more technology based around online ordering and mobile payments. We have discussed the trend of mobile payments before, and trust us, it is not going away any time soon.


Need to pass the time before our next article? Check out our friends over at Custom Business Solutions and their next- generation NorthStar Order Entry System.

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